Pediatric eye exams are important for your child’s eye health. During the exam, your child’s eye doctor will ensure their eyes are developing properly and that there aren’t any larger health problems present or developing. If you’re unsure when to begin taking your child to the eye doctor, talk to your child’s pediatrician to see what’s right for your family.
Once you’ve scheduled an appointment with your child’s eye doctor, it’s important to prepare your child for what to expect. If your child is old enough to understand what the eye doctor is and what an eye exam is, tell him or her that their doctor will ask them to identify objects during the exam, including letters, pictures, and shapes to check their vision quality. Additionally, make sure your child knows their doctor may put eye drops in their eyes, but it won’t hurt. The best way to prepare your child for an eye exam is to answer their questions and be honest about what the exam will entail.
Depending on the age of your child, their eye exam may vary. For example, if your child is one-year-old or younger, their doctor may check the following:
In addition to checking for the above conditions, your child’s doctor may also check to see how your child’s eyes move if they’re lined up properly, and how their eyes react to changes in light and dark environments. These tests help your child’s eye doctor detect and diagnose more serious childhood eye conditions and diseases before they get out of control.
If your child is between the ages of three and five, their eye doctor may carry out a more extensive exam, including a physical eye exam and vision screenings with eye charts, letters, and pictures. They may even incorporate the ‘tumbling E game,’ which helps measure how well your child can see the details and form of an object. It’s usually used for kids who can’t read yet.
In older children, their eye doctor may ask them to identify more detailed pictures, including houses, vehicles, and planes.
The sooner you schedule your child’s first pediatric eye exam, the sooner their doctor can treat any existing eye conditions. Fortunately, quite a few childhood eye conditions are treatable or reversible. For example, Amblyopia, otherwise known as lazy eye, is reversible when diagnosed and treated early. Because it’s one of the most common eye conditions in children, you rest assured in knowing your child’s doctor will check for it at every appointment.